Heading Back to School

By: Peggy Burns, MA, LPC

Heading back to school for any student can be an anxious time. A nice long summer without any alarms, homework, or tests to study for is a welcome break. But the time has come to get back into a routine again of going to school.

There are many ways to get ready for this transition. One of them is to be prepared. Most likely during the summer there was a list sent home by mail or email regarding what supplies to bring for the first day of school. This is a great way to buy ahead of time and be fully prepared with all the materials and supplies the school and teacher have asked you to bring. It also helps alleviate fears of not having what is required and being fully prepared with the correct list of items.

Middle school will be a change in academics and become more challenging than you were used to the first years of elementary school. It is a time of more responsibility and accountability for your progress and success in your classes. It is also a time for more social activities and joining some extracurricular activities. These activities will give you the chance to find out what you are interested in and meet new friends with the same interests.

For incoming Freshman, there is usually an orientation day which helps students be familiar with the layout of the school and their classrooms and locker. It is important to write down your locker number, location and combination to your locker; that way if you do get lost in the hallways, you can always look it up in your planner. Rest assured there will be other students who may not always remember in the beginning where their locker is. The teachers are a helpful resource. Many times they will be standing outside their classroom for the sole purpose of helping students who need some direction.

Making new friends is one of the best things about being a freshman because everyone is new and the possibilities of who you may meet are endless. Don’t be afraid to smile and say hello to the person who has a locker next to yours. It may just end up being a very good friend. There are many other students who are feeling apprehensive or scared to speak up and say hello, so you are not alone.

For both middle school and high school students, it is important to have a routine. This is important in the morning so you don’t feel rushed and forget to bring something you need. If you don’t have time to sit and have breakfast, pack a granola bar or make a smoothie that will help you start your day. Try to pack your lunch the night before or at least some snacks if you buy your lunch.

If you have a study hour in school, that is the best time to start your homework. If you are lucky, perhaps even finish your homework for the day. If not, plan on a specific time that you will finish your homework once you get home. A designated area, whether it is at a desk or at the kitchen table is important to establish.

For parents, it is important to be involved in your child’s school subjects and after school activities. Below are some tips for parents:

● Going to freshman or middle school orientation

● Meeting teachers and finding out what their expectations are

● Checking the homework website every day to make sure that homework is complete

● Finding out what services (e.g. counseling, tutoring, mentoring) are available at the school, in case he or she ever needs them

● Going to parent-teacher conferences, even if they are doing well

● Talking to your child about school

● Showing enthusiasm for his or her accomplishments

● Attending their sporting events or other extracurricular activity

Most importantly, listen to your child and look for any signs of distress. Don't let things go. If you suspect something is wrong, talk to them.

Here is another helpful resource:

https://www.pausd.org/transitioning-middle-school-high-school

I hope this school year is a healthy and happy year!